By Orlando Lee Rodriguez
Speaking on the more than five years of approval hurdles, project modifications and hundreds of public meetings, Samantha Rudin Earls, vice president of Rudin Management Company, compared her pregnancy as being an easier process then getting the St Vincent’s residential and medical project finally underway.
“I gave birth to my baby last July and that was easier than this,” said Earls at the 2013 Real Estate Weekly Women’s Forum last Wednesday. “But at the end of the day, I would do this 100 times over.”
The project received final approval from the city council less than a year ago. Re-development plans had first been announced back in 2007 by St. Vincent’s hospital when Rudin Management was only the developer, not the owner.
Rival groups opposed the sale to Rudin after St. Vincent’s bankruptcy, further delaying the re-development process. Because the development would be located in the middle of a landmarked district, more approval and public meetings were required.
Earls, who said she personally attended 82 public meetings in connection with the project, also shared scaled back renderings of different height revisions to address concerns by community groups and elected officials that the new residential tower would be out of scope with the surrounding neighborhood.
“It was originally 21 stories and then 17 and we wound up with 16 stories,” Earls said. “It will be one foot taller than the hospital that was there. We literally ended up back at the height of the building.”
She also filled the audience in on the process of partnering up with North-Shore L.I.J. Hospital to create comprehensive care facility within the O’Toole building originally slated to be demolished to create a new St. Vincent’s hospital before it went bankrupt. “We are really solving the needs of a community by providing a health care facility that wasn’t going to be there,” she said.
Located on the west side of 7th Avenue between West 12th and 13th streets, the 5-story O’Toole Building will remain and be used to replace some of the medical services lost as a result of St. Vincent’s closure.
Rudin has already developed one residential building on the same street as the rest of the project. 130 West 12th Street sold out all of its available apartments eight months after coming to market.